Capitalism in space: Using its Atlas-5 rocket ULA today successfully launched Landsat 9, built by Northrop Grumman.
At the time of writing, the rocket and payload are in orbit and in a 60-minute coast phrase prior to payload deployment.
This was only the third launch this year by ULA, tying them with Rocket Lab but still too few launches to make the leader board. The leaders in the 2021 launch race remains the same:
4 Northrop Grumman
The U.S. now leads China 35 to 33 in the national rankings. In 2020 the U.S. completed 40 launches total, the most since 1968. At the moment there are sixteen more U.S. launches scheduled for launch in 2021. If all occur as planned, that would make 51 launches, making ’21 the fifth best launch year for the U.S. ever, exceeded only by four years in the mid-1960s.
For ULA, the low number of launches so far this year continues a slow downward trend since 2014, when the company completed fourteen launches. ULA still has four launches listed for ’21, but one, the unmanned Starliner demo launch, is likely to get delayed till ’22. The dates of two other launches remain “too-be-determined”, which also makes them questionable.
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